Poems of the Week



Watching My Father Watch (Seriously) “Joy in a Can”

He pointed the remote at the screen and said,
he’s dead, she’s dead, though they were singing
in bright colors. This went on so long
I thought the entire choir had passed,
to treat death as an hour or car. On the edge
of his chair, smiling, loving, he said,
not the Jesus words but the meld
of voices to voice. By smile
I mean a child’s when the wish of a bike
or hawk goes by. At eighty, he must think
of the dead as his people, of song
as what awaits. A bike going by, a hawk,
the skitter of some bottom-shine
that could be spoon or cross,
a bit of mirror holding the river
to the river, that blinks
when the river blinks, erased by what it sees
as it is sees it. Not to say that life
is or isn’t a river or glass of water
beside in the dry night. It’s good to know
what one is or isn’t saying
about the shapes of desire. A dead woman
singing of a place where no one dies
with so much make-up on, it was as if her face
had long ago left her, and in its place,
hung this idea of what it looks like to try
to convince yourself you are blessed.


For Dylan Moran, or After Him

The instructive disappearing act
of a hallway of misanthrope nematodes—

you see enough basic cable
you get the sense someone is following your great friend

with a balloon
of morons…

And here’s the amazing thing,
all our simpatico guest-starring

can’t pressure a simple hello
into that tube top.



It’s slow going

waiting for the rock
to become a fish

the log
to become a grebe

the eagle’s nest hovers
naked and known

but who in their right mind
would leave

the SUV to fight the deer flies

100,000 ticks per moose


We used a retractable razor blade
to scrape the inspection stickers

from each window carefully

safe for another year

yes, there was a forest fire

a virgin pine burn

then blue buckets of berries
all those following years

the town was skirted
like a woman

you’re dying to surround

Hemingway said

The Big Two-Hearted

was more poetic


all from Passages North 31.1 (2010), Ed. Austin Hummell

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